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Using BOGO Cause Marketing to Sell Men's Razor's

A new e-tail website called Harrys.com launched last week with a BOGO cause marketing approach. Harry’s sells moderately-priced men’s shavers, giving the handles names and taking a boutique approach. If that sounds familiar it’s because Harrys.com was started by Warby Parker co-founder Jeffrey Raider.


BOGO means Buy One, Give One.

Harrys.com isn’t the first direct-to-consumer shaving company. Dollar Shave Company with its profane-a** commercials was into the space well before Harry's. And it’s easy to guess why; the business model is so classic, so bulletproof  it has its own name! The razor blade business model is why Proctor and Gamble paid $57 billion for Gillette back in 2005.

Of course, Procter and Gamble has tens of millions to spend on branding and advertising its razor products. No wonder Dollar Shave Company goes blue with its branding and advertising. How else to break through the clutter?

Well, one way is with cause marketing and BOGO. “We are passionate about helping everyone look and feel great, including those who might need a hand,” says the copy at Harrys.com. “So, for every pack of Harry’s blades that you buy, we donate one blade (or an equivalent dollar value) to an organization that supports our mission of helping people to look and feel great.”

Notice, in particular, the language that says, “helping people to look and feel great.” Harry’s sells to men right now, but the causes they want to support are gender neutral. Good thing, as we shall see.

“We have handpicked a group of amazing organizations,” the website continues, “that we deeply give a shave about, and will feature these organizations in the coming months so that they can benefit from our collective support.”

The first charity highlighted is The Mission Continues, which offers military veterans of recent wars 6-month long fellowships at nonprofit organizations.

Smart to pick a veteran’s charity as the first beneficiary. As I’ve often mentioned in this space, veteran’s charities poll very high in America right now.

Notwithstanding the many worthy charities that support veterans and their families and fire fighters and /police officers, nobody cares specifically about ‘men’ as a cause. If you’re a homeless man yes, that’s a cause we can all get behind. If you want a contract to help build California’s high-speed rail, the state may require you to hire male felons as part of the workforce.

But just men? Buck up, fellas, because you’re on your own.

Let me give you one example of what I mean. In Feb 2012, the unemployment rate in United States was 8.7 percent for men age 20 and older while the unemployment rate for women age 20 and older was 7.6 percent. That’s a difference of 1.1 percentage points.

And yet, I don’t remember anyone during that time starting a movement to get ‘men’ back to work. I don’t remember any legislation to erase the gender inequality in male vs. female unemployment. I don’t remember any charities being formed to retrain only men for the new economy.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. All I’m saying is that by themselves ‘men’ aren’t really a cause that anyone cares about.

We’ve reached the “end of men,” as Harry’s marketers seem to have realized.

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